Solskjaer Praises Campaigning Man Utd Star Rashford

In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaped praise on Marcus Rashford for his work to help feed vulnerable families during the coronavirus crisis, saying it was more important than anything he would do on the pitch.

The Manchester United striker has helped raise around £20 million ($25 million) for charity and this week persuaded the British government to provide free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays.

Solskjaer, whose team return to action at Tottenham on Friday, said it had been “fantastic” to follow Rashford during the coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s not only that he got the Prime Minister to change his mind, but also what he’s done over the last few months,” the Norwegian boss said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“Marcus is such a top, top human being and he’s brought his own experiences as a kid into this conversation and changed the lives of so many kids.”

Solskjaer said Rashford’s work would have a major impact on the lives of deprived children.

“He’s changed the lives of so many kids this summer, which is more important than any game of football that he would probably play,” he said. “Hopefully he can keep both sides going as well as he’s doing now.”

Meanwhile Solskjaer said he also was proud of the way the Premier League was throwing its weight behind the Black Lives Matter movement in the battle against racism.

Players, who are wearing “Black Lives Matter” on their shirts in place of their names, made a powerful gesture of solidarity on Wednesday by taking a knee before kick-off in the first two matches after the restart.

“I think we all know that this shouldn’t happen in 2020,” said Solskjaer.

“What’s been happening and that players, Premier League teams that we all make a stand and say enough is enough, I think that is good. I don’t expect anything different from ours.”

Fifth-placed United will come up against former manager Jose Mourinho in London, with both sides battling for a Champions League spot.

Solskjaer confirmed Rashford and Paul Pogba would be available after lengthy spells on the sidelines.

Odion Ighalo can be called upon for the rest of the season after United agreed a loan extension with Shanghai Shenhua, but talented teenager Angel Gomes’s contract is set to expire at the end of the month.

“He’s a top, top kid that we’ve had in the club for so many years and we’ve offered him a deal,” Solskjaer said of the academy graduate.

“Hopefully he’ll take that. If not, I wish him all the best.”

AFP

Free Meals For Kids: Man United Star Rashford Writes British Govt

Manchester United's English forward Marcus Rashford plays a shot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on March 6, 2019.  FRANCK FIFE / AFP
File: Manchester United’s English forward Marcus Rashford plays a shot during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester United at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on March 6, 2019.
FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has pleaded with the British government to continue to supply free meals for children in poorer families during the summer holidays in a letter “written from the heart”.

Children eligible for free school meals have received food during the coronavirus lockdown, often in the form of vouchers to spend at supermarkets.

About 1.3 million disadvantaged pupils are entitled to free school meals but the scheme in England will not run during the school holiday period, which starts in July.

England international Rashford, who has helped raise around £20 million ($25 million) for FareShare, a charity that fights hunger and food waste, received free meals as a child.

“The government has taken a ‘whatever it takes’ approach to the economy — I’m asking you today to extend that same thinking to protecting all vulnerable children across England,” he wrote in an open letter to lawmakers.

“I encourage you to hear their pleas and find your humanity. Please reconsider your decision to cancel the food voucher scheme over the summer holiday period and guarantee the extension.”

Rashford, 22, added: “As a black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic.

“Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours, and my coaches, the only stats I’m associated with are goals, appearances and caps.”

Rashford, last week named the fifth most valuable player in Europe, told the BBC the letter was “written from the heart”.

“What families are going through now, I’ve once had to go through that — and it’s very difficult to find a way out. It’s very important for me to help people who are struggling,” he said.

A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Johnson would respond to the letter.

“He (Rashford) has been using his profile in a positive way to highlight some very important issues,” the spokesman said.

“The prime minister understands the issues facing families across the UK, which is why last week the government announced an additional £63 million for local authorities to benefit all families who are struggling to afford food and other basic essentials.”

AFP